ABUJA, Nigeria, January 27, 2023 – Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) condemns the drone strike in Nasarawa State that killed and critically injured dozens of civilians on Tuesday night and calls for a prompt inquiry into the incident. 

“The Nigerian Government should investigate what went wrong, in line with the promise of the Chief of Air Staff, and make the findings swiftly and publicly available,” said CIVIC Country Director, Benson Olugbuo.  

Initial reports indicate that the attack was intended to neutralize bandits in the region, but instead struck a group of cattle herders returning to Nasarawa from Benue State. Although it wasn’t immediately clear who launched the attack and authorities haven’t stated who is responsible, accidental airstrikes on civilians have become a recurring threat in northern Nigeria in recent years. 

To prevent similar tragedies in the future, CIVIC stresses the need for the Nigerian Armed Forces to train or retrain all security agents to ensure improved air-ground coordination. Further, and in line with International Humanitarian Law, involved actors must increase scrutiny and confirm that all feasible precautions are taken prior to launching an attack. Finally, and subject to the findings from the investigation, the Nigerian Government should acknowledge its role in the incident, apologize to the victims’ families, and offer them fair and equitable compensation.  

For more information and media inquiries, please contact: 

Image courtesy of Credit: Arne Hoel / World Bank
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